Reports of violence in Norton on the 10th of October 2016 ahead of the by-election scheduled for 22 October 2016 are disturbing and Pacesetters Youth Network calls on candidates and parties contesting the by-election to restrain their supporters to prevent the escalation of violence. Further the network call upon the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission the body mandated to administer the election to also intervene and make sure the Code of Conduct for Political Parties/Candidates is fully implemented while we implore the law enforcement agents to swiftly investigate and enforce the law.
We further remind all Zimbabweans that the Constitution of Zimbabwe and other regional and international instruments provides for individual freedoms and these should be respected and exercised within the confines of the law and these are among others;
the right to freedom of expression – The electoral process is a mechanism whose very purpose is the expression of the political will of the people. The right to express partisan ideas must, therefore, be firmly guarded during electoral periods.
the right to freedom of opinion – The unconditional freedom to hold a political opinion is imperative in the context of elections, since the authentic assertion of popular will is impossible in an environment where such freedom is absent or restricted in any way.
the right to peaceful assembly – The right of assembly must be respected, since public demonstrations and political rallies are an integral part of the election process and provide an effective mechanism for the public dissemination of political information
the right to freedom of association – This right clearly include the right to form and participate in political organizations. Respect for this right is vital during the electoral process, as the ability to form and join political parties is one of the most important means by which people can participate in the democratic process
We call upon the people of Norton especially young people to desist from engaging in violence.
Information and Publicity Unit